Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January? Gone so soon?

So back in this post, I laid out some goals for 2012. Just thought I'd check in as JANUARY IS ALMOST OVER?!?!? How did that happen? I guess it got lost amid the 55 hour work weeks, family visits, throwing a baby shower, etc. Oh, and becoming a children's pastor. I might need to write about that too as I don't think I've mentioned it. But anyway, I had laid out several goals for the year. The first one was health. Well, after a full month plus, I finally got over my terrible cold virus. But the rest? I've been to the gym a little. I have been eating better. I'm really hopeful about the gym coming along now that I'm no longer sick and have no more parties I am throwing on the horizon. The second was to read 25 books. I'm on track! I've read 2 complete books (fiction) and am almost done with 2 non-fiction books. Follow me on Goodreads if you want! (www.goodreads.com/deannajh As far as the third, I've been reading my Bible. I am not really tracking exactly how far at this point. I spent time with several friends this month! Particularly, I spent like 4 hours at a friend's house catching up. I also had people over twice. So, yeah. I did it! Throwing a birthday party and baby shower threw the budget off slightly. But we're working on it! And, last but not least, I blogged 7 times this month. Yay! :) Now hoping I continue on track in all areas in February and get on track in the slacking areas!

Barnes and Noble Gift Card? Yes, please!

If you've read my blog much at all, it's probably no surprise to you that I love to read. Or that I have an unhealthy number of books.  But there are still more books I would love to buy!

A $25 Barnes and Noble gift card would certainly help with that!

Brooke at "Life as a Mother, Wife, and Student" is hosting a giveaway for a $25 Barnes and Noble giftcard!

Visit Brooke for a chance to win and tell her Deanna sent you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

John's 30th Birthday

John turned 30 yesterday!

To celebrate his birthday, I declared last week BIRTHDAY WEEK!  I had a different surprise/gift for him every day of the week.  Some of the surprises had been in the works since SEPTEMBER!  That's a long time to keep a secret!

Birthday week started last Monday.  Each day his card/gift was in a different location.

Day 1's gift was a Reese's hear and an old edition of Prehistoric Life magazine.

Day 2 was a University of Alabama t-shirt.

Day 3 was another magazine and a package of gummy worms.

Day 4 was not pictured but was the third magazine.

Day 5 was one of his "big" gifts.  So in the picture you just see the card and candy. Because I could not wrap his gift up in this case.

Back in September, I had an idea, you see. I was thinking about how it would be John's first birthday away from his family and his 30th. So, as part of his gift, I flew his mom up here as a surprise!  I'll write more about this later, but let me just say - he was shocked!

Day 6 was another Alabama t-shirt

Day 7 (his actual birthday) was a new television!
He'd been wanting a flat screen for awhile now. So I surprised him with one. But there was one more surprise.....

A surprise party for him with Michigan friends and family! Getting to the actual party of the day turned quite dramatic, but I'll save that for another post.  Needless to say, John thoroughly enjoyed his birthday.

Last night, as I was laying in bed completely exhausted, John and I were talking about how long I'd been planning, keeping secrets, etc.  I said "Wow. I pretty much went from planning a wedding to planning a second reception to planning a surprise party. Now I can just stop."

And so I went to sleep.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So, I've been thinking about housework a lot the last..... oh, 18 hours.

I feel like we've finally got it split up in a way that works for us at this point in time.  This could all change if anything switches in regards to schedules, jobs, etc. but I finally feel after 4 long months of marriage (hehe, small joke!) it's all under control.

John is a little bit of a neat freak. In some ways.

I'm not a neat freak, but I'm a bit of a germaphobe.  The ways that I am a neat freak are pretty much the opposite of how John is.

This presents a bit of a dilemma.

When we were at the condo, it always seemed like it was very much "my" place (probably since I had lived there for 4 1/2 years longer than John). Therefore, he seemed to think that maintaining it was "my job."  This led to some stress since working 50+ hours a week was also "my job."  For a little while, I was working about 50 hours a week, doing most of the housework, all of the cooking, and all of the bill paying. Oh, and grocery shopping, toiletry shopping, etc.

Looking for a house made it even worse, because then I was also packing what I could and handling mortgage documents. (All while entering busy season at work.... sounds fun, doesn't it?)

We had to talk about it. Several times in fact (note - we did not fight, I am not sharing dirty laundry on the blog, I'm just saying we discussed matters).  He started helping a little more, but still, I was probably doing about 80% of the house stuff. And of the hours we worked weekly, I was working about 65% of them.  It was demoralizing - leaving the house while my husband was still in bed, getting home 3 hours after he did (at which point he would be starving!), immediately cooking dinner because he was starving and then spending an hour or more cleaning each night.

I was exhausted. I was stressed. I may have even cried.

Moving ended up changing a lot more than our address.  Around that same time, John changed jobs as well. He now works like 55 hours a week - more than I do.  But I think it's more having a house that is "ours" and not "mine."

Since we've moved, here are some things I have not done:

-Cleaned a bathroom

You'd think my house would be gross, right?

Wrong! John does all this and more.  Our current "division of labor" (which just kind of happened, we never discussed it) is I take care of the kitchen and all that happens there (making his lunch, all dishes, cooking, etc.), we each do our own laundry, and he does everything else. And in the week we've had the cat, I also take care of my little Leo.

Because his two days off are days that I work, I come home to a clean house at the end of a long work day. I have to admit it's very nice.

This new division of work is working much better for me.

Life & Death

Last night was a rough night.  I was starting class last night at my church's Bible school. (I took classes previously, but took last semester off.) While I was waiting for class, I pulled out my phone and was checking facebook.  I saw something that shocked me.

A friend from high school was dead.  Dead at 31.  Her children? Motherless.  Her family? Grieving.  I think the rest of us? Stunned.

It was probably 10 years or so since I had even talked to her.  Thinking about her last night, I was unsure of how many kids she had (2 or 3?), how old they were (the oldest must be about 9 or 10?), was she still married to her high school sweetheart (I don't think so?).  These questions have answers that are pretty straight forward.  The bigger questions do not.

Why?  Why is she dead at 31? All I know is what her sister put on facebook which is that she had been struggling with alcohol for some time.  But what does that really answer.

I firmly believe that each one of us is here for a purpose. We all have a destiny on earth that we are supposed to fulfill.  It saddens me to think of someone I at one point considered a friend dead with all of her unfulfilled destiny, hopes, and dreams dead also.

I'm not judging her and saying she didn't accomplish anything in her life - I don't know.  But I just don't, can't believe that her purpose was to die a young death as a result of an addiction.

Several months ago, one of the ladies who I had worked with, tried to help at the homeless shelter I volunteered at died of a drug overdose.  She also left behind two children.  It just seems like such a waste of promise, such a waste of a life.

So today, I'm sad.  And I'm praying for the family. But I'm also angry - angry at the drugs and alcohol that have taken the lives, purpose, and dreams of so many people in my generation.  Angry at the lies that it's cool to drink, it's a good way to relax, drugs are needed, etc. without acknowledging that addictions are deadly.

If you're reading, please pray for my friend's family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Expanding our Family!

No, not like that. I am NOT pregnant. :)

However, we do have a new addition.

Meet Leonardo, Leo for short. (Though he also answers to "kitty," "kitty cat" "pretty kitty" and "kitters.")

Please excuse the poor quality of the picture. Leo didn't want to pose AND I was using my cell phone.

So, I've never had a pet before. After we got married, John got an aquarium, so we've had some fish.  At one point, he wanted a dog, but we decided now was not the time. Dogs are expensive ($275 to ADOPT from the HUMANE SOCIETY???). Dogs require a lot of time.  Dogs would not appreciate the fact that we both routinely work 12 hour days.

So we decided to stick with the fish.  Until last Thursday.

Last Thursday, I was at work, minding my own business when suddenly two kittens appeared. Someone who works for the office that we share space with had brought her daughters' with their "Christmas gifts."  I saw these kittens, held one, played with them and instantly wanted one!  So I wrote John "I want a kitten."  I didn't think anything would come of it.  But he was like "Oh, okay. We'll go look tomorrow."

Friday came. I had taken the day off because I had one 2011 day off that I needed to use and with his work schedule (all day both weekend days) we haven't had as much time together lately.  After we ran a few errands, we went to the Humane Society.  They didn't have any kittens, but they had several cats!

We looked at one named "Sully" first and then "Malcolm."  Malcolm was the cat for us.  But Malcolm was not the name for us.

As we were driving home, we started tossing around names.  When we came to "Leonardo," he meowed for the first time. Sure enough, every other name we said he was silent. Every time we said "Leonardo," he responded with a meow.

He's the sweetest, friendliest cat I've ever met. He's very thin, so we're hoping he starts putting on weight.  He's playful and loving.

He's apparently a 3-year old tabby.

I love him. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - A Year Ahead

Happy New Year! (This post was scheduled to post right at midnight on January 1st. For mysterious reasons, it did not!)

 I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions. In fact, I think I haven't made any in the past.... 15 years? So often, resolutions just fall to the wayside by the 2nd week of January. I don't want to be one of "those people." But after a discussion at work yesterday, I do think it's really important to have goals. Life is so crazy that we get so caught up in the day to day grind of living that we don't always take the time for ourselves, for others, etc. (Apparently, I really don't take time for myself or I wouldn't have had the following conversation with my husband last night "You're pretty, I mean, really pretty. But you also always look tired." "What? I look tired all the time? What are you saying?" "Well, you know. You have a stressful job, don't sleep much, and you can tell." He saw nothing wrong with this conversation. Sigh. Men.)

So here are some goals that I'm working on/working toward in the next year.

 1) Get healthier overall, but particularly in weight loss. 2011 has been an up and down year. They discovered my thyroid problem and gluten problem. I got on medicine and things got better. I lost 20 pounds! Then they changed my medicine. I gained weight back. I was super consistent at the gym, but then life happened and the consistency stopped. So obviously, this is something I have to work on with my doctor (finding and maintaining the right thyroid level), but I also know it's something I need to work on myself. So, back to the consistent gym plan I go. Back to the consistent food plan. Back to getting healthier.

2) Read at least 25 books in 2012. I love to read. In 4 days around Christmas, I finished 2 books (the first two in The Hunger Games trilogy). When I read, I remember how much I love reading. But it's one of those things that so often gets pushed to the side. And of these 25 books, at least 10 have to be non-fiction books. They cannot be 25 chick-lit books, etc. I've started using goodreads.com, so that will help me track this goal.

3) Read through my Bible at least once. This is one thing I try to do every year.

4) Spend time with a friend at least once a month. Whether it's grabbing coffee, going shopping, etc., it's important to make time for those around us.

5) Stick to the budget that we have worked out.

6) Blog at least 3 times a month. I love blogging, but I just don't always get around to it!

 Anyone else have any 2012 goals/resolutions?